Rama’s secretary wants inquiry on letter, blames politics
CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama’s secretary said she will ask for an inquiry into reports that a solicitation letter which bore her signature and asked for donations of bottled mineral water was circulated to commercial establishments.
Belinda Navasquez said she cannot remember signing a solicitation letter and was surprised upon hearing the report.
“I was surprised as you are. I’m unaware of any solicitation letter. In fact what I did when somebody told me that it’s posted in Facebook was to ask for the letter. I cannot remember signing such documents,” she told Cebu Daily News.
She said they don’t need to solicit donations since they already have many sponsors for the mayor’s State of the City Address. Navasquez said she has her staff write the letters.
When one of her staffers called her attention to the solicitation letter that appeared on the Facebook account of Councilor Sisinio Andales, Navasquez said she doubted its authenticity.
“Anything can happen in Facebook. So I say show me the original (letter). I will really find out who did it and why me? If it needs legal then I have to go legal. Then I have to ask for a legal opinion. You know it’s political season,” she said but declined to elaborate further.
Navasquez said the mayor didn’t ask her to solicit from commercial establishments.
“I don’t do that kay daghan man mohatag sa amo (there are many who would give to us). We don’t need to ask,” she said.
Navasquez started working in the city government 15 years ago and has been Rama’s secretary since 2010.
The solicitation letter also bore the name of Mina Aracan or Filomena Aracan, Navasquez’s executive assistant, who was identified as a contact person for donations.
“Wala koy idea ana (I don’t have any idea about that) solicitation letter. Actually, if ever I have to put my name in a letter its ‘Filomena’ not my nickname (Mina),” Aracan said.
Aracan said they don’t need to solicit bottled mineral water because a donor already gave them 7,000 bottles of mineral water or 2,000 more than their target.
Andales, who reported on the solicitation letter in his privilege speech at last Wednesday’s council session, said he will bring the document to the Philippine National Police (PNP) crime laboratory for authentication.
“The establishments to whom the letter is addressed will vouch for its authenticity, that it came from the mayor’s office,” Andales said.
He said based on the tone of the letter, soliciting was a usual practice.
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